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Brave Hannah rings bell to signal end of chemo

28 June 2018

Nine-year old Hannah Larsen will bravely ring the bell at The Townsville Hospital Paediatric Oncology Day Unit tomorrow to signify the end of her exhaustive three-year cancer journey.

After being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in April 2016, Hannah and her family had their lives turned upside-down, with parents Simone and Mads quitting their jobs to be with their daughter.

“Hannah was diagnosed on a Tuesday and was isolated and getting blood transfusions, within a day she was being flown to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane,” Mads said.

“It was a no-brainer for Simone and I to take time off work to support Hannah.

“After all, you can always make money back but you can’t get a life back.”

Once diagnosed, more than two years of intense therapy started, with Hannah bravely battling her way through bone marrow aspirations, lumber punctures, blood and platelet transfusions, a port-a-cath insertion and daily chemotherapy.

However, the Make-a-Wish Foundation have found a way to brighten the end of Hannah’s chemo journey, giving the young nine-year old the chance to meet her idol Katy Perry in style.

“Make-a-Wish Foundation have generously given Hannah flights, accommodation, tickets and limo transport to the Katy Perry concert and she’ll also get to meet Katy Perry herself,” Mads said.

“We’ve seen chinks in her armour about four or five times throughout her journey but Katy Perry has certainly seen her through a lot of dark hours so we’re truly grateful.

“Hannah is over-the-moon happy about it as well.”

Mads also gave special thanks to the friends, family, staff members and strangers that helped, saying that the family were given a home in Brisbane for the first two months thanks to generous help from a friend’s uncle and aunt and further accommodation from The Leukaemia.

“It really does replace your faith in humanity when these people who we have never met before provide us with a roof over our head during one of our family’s toughest times,” Mads said.

“When we found out that Hannah would be spending so much time in Brisbane we both just packed up and left and this was an enormous help.”

For over 20 years Simone has donated blood and plasma however, since Hannah’s diagnosis Mads has also started donating plasma at Townsville’s new plasma centre.

“Blood and plasma donations saved Hannah’s life,” Mads said.

“You can’t get through something like this without plasma and blood donations and Hannah’s probably had about 20 or more transfusions since the diagnosis, so every person that can do it will save be saving a life just like hers.

“For us, the journey is far from over and the road ahead might be easy, it might be hard, but we’re all committed to doing the absolute best we can.”

Twenty or more family members will be there to witness Hannah ring the bell on Friday, with many travelling from rural and remote parts of Queensland to attend.

Last updated: 10 September 2018